Rugby-Pumas must improve attack against All Blacks after successive shutouts: Ledesma


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - Argentina v Tonga - Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Osaka, Japan - September 28, 2019 Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

(Reuters) - Argentina have failed to score a point in their last two meetings with the All Blacks and coach Mario Ledesma wants his side to take better care of the ball when they attack the Rugby Championship leaders in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Pumas were thrashed 39-0 by New Zealand on the Gold Coast on Sunday, after losing their previous meeting with them 38-0 in the southern hemisphere championship last year.

But Ledesma does not have to look far for inspiration, with the Pumas securing their first ever victory over the All Blacks last November.

The coach said his defence had played well in the last two games, despite the score-lines, and that the onus was on his team to improve their attacking play at Lang Park.

"I don't think it's the defence," he said. "Both games, I think the defence did really well.

"The problem with defending all the time against the All Blacks is they're going to finish scoring, so definitely it's more on the attack side of things.

"We lost seven attacking balls and we didn't have many. When you lose it in the first two phases, that's not good enough. So it's definitely one of the focuses this week."

Ledesma is dealing with a lengthy injury list and has shifted Santiago Carreras from fullback to flyhalf after Nicolas Sanchez limped off with an ankle injury last week.

Carreras missed that test due to injury but returns in the number 10 shirt and Ledesma is backing the 23-year-old to have an impact for a Pumas side that has yet to win in their three games in the competition so far this season.

"When he was young, he used to play number 10 for many years, then he changed at around 20-years-old when he was selected for the Under 20s and he started playing as fullback," said Ledesma.

"But he's a natural in that position and he looks dangerous with the ball, really confident, he has a good right foot.

"It's been a while already that we wanted to put him in that position and we have the opportunity to do it this game.

"Obviously, it's not the easiest game to do it but he's really confident and we are really confident that he's going to perform and he's going to deliver."

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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